Syukuro Manabe

Syukuro "Suki" Manabe is a Japanese meteorologist who pioneered the use of computers to simulate global climate change and natural climate variations.

cientific Accomplishments

Working at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, first in Washington, DC and later in Princeton, New Jersey, Manabe worked with director Joseph Smagorinsky to develop three dimensional models of the atmosphere. In 1967 he and Richard Wetherald demonstrated that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations would increase the altitude at which the earth radiated heat to space. In 1969 Manabe and Kirk Bryan published the first simulations of the climate of a planet with coupled ocean and atmosphere models, establishing the role of oceanic heat transport in determining global climate. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Manabe's research group published seminal papers using these models to explore the sensitivity of Earth's climate to changing greenhouse gas concentrations. These papers formed a major part of the first global assessments of climate change published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Other important work done by Manabe included the suggestion that climate might have more than one stable state (Manabe and Stouffer, 1988) and the demonstration that switches between such states could be induced in a relatively realistic model by melting ice caps (Manabe et al., 1995).

Career Path

Born in 1931, Manabe received a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1958 and came to the United States to work atthe General Circulation Research Section of the U.S. Weather Bureau, now the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA, continuing until 1997. From 1997 to 2001, he worked at the Frontier Research System forGlobal Change in Japan serving as Director of the Global Warming Research Division. In 2002 he returned to the United States as a visiting research collaborator at the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Princeton University.


Manabe is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of Academia Europaea and the Royal Society of Canada. In 1992, he was the first recipient of the Blue Planet Prize of the Asahi Foundation. In 1997 Manabe was awarded the Volvo Environmental Prize from the Volvo Foundation. Manabe has also been honored with the American Meteorological Society’s Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, the American Geophysical Union’s Revelle Medal, and the Milutin Milankovitch Medal from the European Geophysical Society.

Manabe Miscellany

* The research group started by Manabe is today known as the GFDL [ Climate Dynamics and Prediction Group] .
* Manabe and Bryan's pioneering work in the development of the first global climate models has been selected as one of the Top Ten Breakthroughs to have occurred in NOAA's first 200 years. []
* In honor of his retirement from NOAA / GFDL, a three day scientific meeting was held in Princeton, New Jersey in March 1998. It was titled "Understanding Climate Change: A Symposium in honor of Syukuro Manabe" []
* The 2005 annual meeting of American Meteorological Society included a special Suki Manabe Symposium. []
* [ Syukuro Manabe home page] from Princeton University's Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.
* [ He warned of warming long before it was cool] , newspaper article profile of Manabe (4 February 2007).


*Manabe, S., and R. T. Wetherald, 1967: Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity. "Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences", 24 (3), 241-259.
*Manabe, S., and R. J. Stouffer, 1988: Two stable equilibria of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. Journal of Climate, 1(9), 841-866.
*Manabe, S., and R. J. Stouffer, 1995: Simulation of abrupt climate change induced by freshwater input to the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature, 378, 165-167.
* [ On-line Bibliography] at the GFDL

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